Raycom Sports President and CEO Ken Haines to Retire
Raycom Sports President and CEO Ken Haines will retire at the end of 2015. Haines has been with the company since its inception in 1979. Under the leadership of Haines, Raycom has held television rights to all the major college conferences including the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, Bight Eight, Southwest, Metro, SEC and the establishment on an ACC digital network. It also owned numerous LPGA golf tournaments and managed various basketball tournaments and football bowl games.
“The last 35 years have been a wonderful and gratifying experience,” said Haines. “It is always rewarding to be involved in a start-up and see it grow into a dominant company. Founders Rick and Dee Ray are to be credited with having a vision for a company that would be successful, innovative and provide employment for hundreds of employees. Most importantly to Raycom and to me was maintaining and growing a relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference over so many decades. It is one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my career.”
The television relationship between Raycom and the ACC is believed to be the longest in college sports.
Raycom started operations shortly before ESPN began and launched the careers of many well-known announcers including Jay Bilas, Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Dan Bonner, Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes, Mike Patrick, Terry Gannon, Ron Franklin, Bill Walton and Craig James.
In 1999, Raycom was the first sports company to telecast a major sporting event (MVP Basketball Classic) in high definition (HD) and was the first to use virtual signage during a televised sports event (AFLAC LPGA Tourney).
The company also started the Blockbuster Bowl in Ft. Lauderdale, the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, and the Diet Pepsi Tournament of Champions basketball tournament in Charlotte. The company also brought the first major college regular season football games to Bank of America stadium.
The acquisition of the company in 1996 by an Alabama television station entity that named their company Raycom Media was instrumental in keeping Raycom Sports competitive in the television and digital sports market. In 2007, Raycom Media acquired Lincoln Financial Sports (Jefferson-Pilot Sports), making Raycom Sports the nation’s only remaining major college sports syndicator.
Haines credits Raycom Media CEO Paul McTear and Vice President Pat LaPlatney with being “very astute in understanding the changing landscape of video media.”
Haines has a B.A. degree from Dakota Wesleyan University, an M.S. from Troy State, graduate work at the University of Wyoming and an advance graduate degree from Virginia Tech. He was named an Opperman Distinguished Lecturer and alumnus of year at Dakota Wesleyan in 1998, outstanding TV Sports Executive by the All American Football Foundation in 1999, the fourth-most powerful person in the ACC by the Orlando Sentinel in 2009, received the ACC Commissioner’s Cup in 2013 and was a National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Golden Anniversary Honoree in 2015.
Before Raycom, Haines was spokesperson and executive assistant to the president at Virginia Tech and managed the Virginia Tech radio network. He is veteran of the U.S. Army.
Haines plans to stay in Charlotte, where he resides with his wife, Stephanie. They have one daughter, Avery, who also resides in Charlotte.